What are Dental Crowns Used For?

Dental crowns are prosthetics that are used to protect severely damaged teeth. They help to restore the function and natural appearance of the tooth in question. Dental crowns are also often used with other devices like implants and bridges.

Once installed, a dental crown allows the wearer to perform tasks like speaking and chewing properly. This has a positive impact on other parts of the body like the digestive system. Crowns are also commonly called caps.

Why you need crowns

Patients might need to protect a tooth with a cap when are dealing with issues like:

  • A cavity that cannot be repaired with fillings
  • Teeth are needed to serve as anchors for dental prosthetics like bridges
  • An implant has been surgically inserted into the patient's jawbone
  • A tooth is cracked, broken or otherwise badly damaged
  • The patient has just undergone a root canal treatment
  • A tooth or more are badly discolored and not responsive to whitening treatments

What are crowns made from?

A dental crown can be made from a variety of materials like ceramics, metal alloys, composite resin, porcelain or a combination of materials. Crowns are often customized to look just like the wearer's natural teeth.

That makes the crown look just like a real tooth when it is inserted into the patient's mouth. The location of the tooth being covered can also influence what materials are best for that patient. Ceramic and porcelain crowns look more natural, but materials like gold are sometimes chosen for aesthetic reasons. 

What to expect when getting a crown

Prior to the installation of the crown, the dentist will prepare the tooth it will be placed on by removing its outer portion to make space for the cap. Any decayed material on the tooth is also removed. If the tooth requires additional support, the dentist may build up its core with a composite resin.

The dentist will then take an impression of the person's mouth and those dimensions are sent to a lab where the crown is made. The patient is typically fitted with a temporary crown while the dentist waits for the customized crown to be manufactured. This typically takes about two weeks.

Some dentists have access to equipment like CEREC, which allows them to make the lab at their clinic. This makes it possible to get same day crowns.

Finally, the customized crown is placed on the prepared tooth. Dental cement is used to keep it firmly in place.

Caring for teeth after getting a crown

Taking care of a crowned tooth does not differ from taking care of natural teeth. Patients should:

Brush at least twice daily, floss every day and use an antibacterial mouthwash to reduce the bacterial count in their mouths. It is often best to use products that have been approved by the American Dental Association.

Patients should avoid munching on hard foods that can damage the crown. This includes chewing on hard candies and ice. Bad habits like nail biting or opening bottle tops with teeth should also be avoided.

Contact one of our dentists to learn more about restoring your smile with a dental crown.

Take the next step

Call (949) 258-7433 today to reach Stunning Smiles of Lake Forest.

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